Experimenting with open fieldwork

I have been conducting empirical field-based research since 1995 in India, Sri Lanka and Cyprus. In recent years I have been systematically deploying an increasing range of graphic design-based methods as a sociolegal research tool.

One result has been that my sociolegal work now produces visible traces, and these are readily shareable via social media. So I am both more keen and more able to focus on, and to share, my research process.

In December 2016 I decided to try to actively and openly document a field trip to Cyprus, including preparation and failures. Below is the resulting twitter feed, much of which has been shared more widely by my funders, the Socio-legal Studies Association and my employer, Kent Law School.

Preparation

Model making

I met with economist Fiona Mullen at the Home for Cooperation in the UN-controlled ‘Buffer Zone’ or ‘Dead Zone’ to experiment with model-making as an aid for planning and explaining econosociolegal strategies and processes.

Walking with clay figures

Next I began a series of experiments exploring what light might be shed on the past, present and future of inter-communal commerce in Cyprus through the device of a walking tour of North and South Nicosia; especially when augmented by the presence of clay figures.

Responding to museums

I completed two instances of what I refer to as ‘object-based brainstorming‘ first at the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia and then at the Cyprus Museum. The latter was especially interesting as it is home to the collection that inspired my clay figures.

Setback

Materialising concepts

I decided to try to deepen and specify my interventions in public spaces by creating concept cards that focus on the themes of law, trust and economic life.

Walking with clay figures and concept cards

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